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Nursing Employment Statistics

For Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Data reported May 2012

Job Outlook

Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur primarily because of technological advancements, permitting a greater number of health problems to be treated; an increased emphasis on preventive care; and the large, aging baby boomer population who will demand more health care services as they live longer and more active lives than previous generations. Faster than average growth is expected in traditional hospital settings, as well as in non-hospital settings, such as physician’s offices and home health care services.

Growth is expected to be much faster than average in outpatient care centers, where patients do not stay overnight, such as those that provide same-day chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and surgery. Also, an increased number of procedures, as well as more sophisticated procedures once done only in hospitals, are being done in physicians' offices.

The financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible should mean more people admitted to extended and long-term care facilities and more need for home health care. As the baby boomers grow older, there will be greater demand for home health care.

In addition, because many older people want to be treated at home or in residential care facilities, registered nurses will be in demand in those settings. Job growth is also expected in facilities that provide long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head injury patients, as well as facilities that treat people with Alzheimer's disease (memory loss, dementia).

Job Prospects

Overall, job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be excellent. Employers in some parts of the country and in some employment settings report difficulty in attracting and keeping enough registered nurses.

Job opportunities should be excellent, even in hospitals, because of the relatively high turnover of hospital nurses. To attract and keep qualified nurses, hospitals may offer signing bonuses, family-friendly work schedules, or subsidized training.

In physicians' offices and outpatient care centers, registered nurses may face greater competition for positions because these jobs generally offer regular working hours and provide more comfortable working conditions than hospitals.

Generally, registered nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.

In addition, all four advanced practice registered nurses – clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners – will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.

Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for Registered Nurses:

Employment

 

Mean hourly
wage

Mean Annual
wage

2,633,980

 

$32.66

$67,930

Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for Nurse Practitioners:

Employment  

Mean hourly
wage

Mean annual
wage

105,780

 

$43.97

$91,450

Percentile wage estimates for Registered Nurses:

Percentile

10%

25%

 
50%

75%

90%

Hourly Wage

$21.65

$25.80

$31.48

$37.84

$45.54

Annual Wage

$45,040

$53,670

$65,470

$78,700

$94,720

Percentile wage estimates for Nurse Practitioners:

Percentile

10%

25%

50%

75%

90%

Hourly Wage

$30.82

$37.70

$43.25

$51.21

$57.93

Annual Wage

$64,100

$78,410

$89,960

$106,510

$120,500

Industries with the highest levels of employment for Registered Nurses:

Industry

Employment

Percent of industry employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

1,545,370

29.51

$33.41

$69,490

Offices of Physicians

177,190

7.46

$29.86

$62,120

Home Health Care Services

162,120

13.76

$31.51

$65,530

Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)

139,440

8.39

$29.43

$61,220

Outpatient Care Centers

92,350

14.42

$34.23

$71,200

Industries with the highest levels of employment for Nurse Practitioners:

Industry

Employment

Percent of industry employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Offices of Physicians

48,690

2.05

$43.76

$91,020

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

27,760

0.53

$45.90

$95,470

Outpatient Care Centers

7,610

1.19

$44.48

$92,510

Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

3,160

0.11

$41.16

$85,620

Home Health Care Services

3,050

0.26

$39.57

$82,300

States with the highest employment level for Registered Nurses:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California

249,980

$45.25

$94,120

Texas

187,290

$31.90

$66,350

New York

166,950

$35.63

$74,100

Florida

163,720

$29.70

$61,780

Pennsylvania

125,220

$31.25

$65,000

States with the highest employment level for Nurse Practitioners:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California

9,720

$47.58

$98,970

New York

8,990

$46.98

$97,730

Florida

5,930

$41.75

$86,840

Texas

5,720

$46.97

$97,710

Massachusetts

4,370

$49.20

$102,340

States with the highest concentration of jobs and location for Registered Nurses:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

South Dakota

11,030

$25.39

$52,800

Rhode Island

11,840

$35.13

$73,070

Mississippi

28,200

$27.76

$57,740

Missouri

65,260

$27.40

$56,990

Massachusetts

79,570

$40.08

$83,370

States with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for Nurse Practitioners:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Mississippi

1,680

$44.20

$91,940

Maine

870

$41.85

$87,060

Tennessee

3,940

$42.65

$88,720

Utah

1,670

$40.33

$83,880

Massachusetts

4,370

$49.20

$102,340

Top paying states for Registered Nurses:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California

249,980

$45.25

$94,120

Hawaii

10,060

$40.74

$84,750

Massachusetts

79,570

$40.08

$83,370

Alaska

5,350

$38.93

$80,970

Oregon

28,840

$37.75

$78,530

Top paying states for Nurse Practitioners:

State

Employment

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Alaska

280

$53.89

$112,090

Hawaii

240

$50.33

$104,690

Oregon

1,190

$49.66

$103,280

Massachusetts

4,370

$49.20

$102,340

New Jersey

2,580

$48.57

$101,030

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